It was reported that the gunman, who entered an elementary school in the US state of Texas on Tuesday and killed 21 people, including 19 children, encountered no obstacles while entering the building.
Texas Police Department spokesman Victor Escalon said armed security guards at the door did not stop the young assailant and it was not even known whether the door was locked or not.
Escalon, on the other hand, defended the police reaction to criticism that it was too late to intervene with the attacker.
Eyewitnesses said police were reluctant to intervene when the gunman entered Uvalde Robb Primary School and was waiting for reinforcements.
The person who entered the school and opened fire killed 19 primary school students and two teachers, and injured at least 17 people.
The latest statements made by the police contradict what was said at the press conference two days ago.
Victor Escalon said Thursday that initial reports that the shooter entered by shooting one of the security guards at the door were not true and that in fact there were no security guards at inside the school when the attacker arrived.
Escalon added that police entered the school at 11:40 a.m., four minutes after the attacker entered the school.
But the assailant was stopped by being killed more than an hour later, after US Border Guard force tactical teams arrived at the scene.
Escalon said the task force was unable to enter the building immediately because of the shooting at them.
In footage taken during the incident, the desperate families were seen to have forced the police to come in and intervene as soon as possible, and they were arguing.
parents are angry
Jesse Jimenez, a primary school father of two who was attacked, told the BBC how his children survived the massacre hiding in fear:
“My son ran up to me and said he thought he couldn’t escape. He thought he would never see me and his mother again. My daughter couldn’t even understand what happened. was over. She said she didn’t even know if it was a drill or if it was real.”
On Thursday, Joe Garcia, the wife of one of the slain teachers, Irma Garcia, died of a heart attack.
A father, whose daughter was killed in the attack, also told the Associated Press news agency that, angered by the police’s failure to intervene, he was even considering breaking into the school with other people who were waiting outside at the time.
Angeli Rose Gomes, the mother of one of the boys, told the Wall Street Journal she was briefly handcuffed during the incident, accused of obstructing police when she and other parents demanded that the police enter the building and intervene.
Gomes said a distraught dad was knocked to the ground by a police officer, another dad was pepper sprayed and another was later shot with a stun gun.
“The police weren’t doing anything. They were waiting outside the fences. They had nowhere to go,” Gomez says. When his handcuffs were removed, he jumped over the school fence and ran inside to save his two children.
Victor Escalon said police were waiting for reinforcements as they were outside the school, while “evacuating students and teachers”. “An hour later, the US Border Patrol Tactical Unit arrived at the school, entered and killed the suspect,” Escalon said.
This practice does not appear to conform to the rules established for such events nationwide after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. According to the rules, the first police force to arrive on the scene is obliged to intervene as quickly as possible to stop the attack without waiting for reinforcements.
The entry of the aggressor into the school
According to the police spokesman, the assailant got off when his van crashed into a ditch near the school and came to a stop, and began shooting at two people leaving a nearby funeral home with a gun in hand.
Then he jumped over the school fence and opened fire towards the building.
When he arrived at the school gate, he was not stopped by anyone at the gate.
According to the protocol in effect in schools in the Uvalde region, security patrols are required at gates and entrances, in parking lots and around school buildings. Teachers are also asked to constantly lock the doors.
“We’re going to gather all the information on why the doors weren’t locked. Or maybe they were locked. But it doesn’t appear to be locked at the moment,” Escalon said.
Joaquin Castro, a member of the United States House of Representatives representing Texas, wrote directly to the head of the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, asking him to review the response of security agents to the attack on the school. .
Authorities say it is not yet known how many bullets the assailant fired during the incident, but a police source told CBS television that the suspect fired 600 bullets.
According to the same source, this means twice the amount of ammunition carried by a US Army combat soldier and indicates that the attacker is ready for a major confrontation with the police.
Investigators have not yet received any information that the attacker has a criminal record or a psychological disorder.
The AR-type rifle he used in the attack was found to have been received two weeks ago after he turned 18.
The White House announced that President Joe Biden and his wife will visit Uvalde on Sunday.
On Thursday, students across the country staged boycotts and dropouts to protest school shootings.